As UN Again Condemns Mandalika Human Rights Violations, NGOs Demand End to AIIB Financing of Indonesian Tourism Project

Indigenous protest in Mandalika: Give Compensation [for evictions from land]. Credit: The Indonesia Infrastructure Development Monitoring Coalition:
Indigenous protest in Mandalika: Give Compensation [for evictions from land]. Credit: The Indonesia Infrastructure Development Monitoring Coalition:
Indigenous protest in Mandalika: Give Compensation [for evictions from land]. Credit: The Indonesia Infrastructure Development Monitoring Coalition (Koalisi Pemantau Pembangunan Infrastruktur Indonesia).

Bandung, Indonesia, May 11 2022:- The Coalition for Monitoring Indonesia’s Infrastructure Development and supporting NGOs today called on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and the Indonesian Government to stop AIIB financing for the quarter-billion dollar Mandalika Urban Development and Tourism Project, following a communication from the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council. The letter, from Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, questions the AIIB, ITDC and the government of Indonesia over alleged human rights violations in connection to the project [1].
 
The civil society groups also called on AIIB, and its borrowers – the ITDC and Indonesian government – to resolve the humanitarian crisis caused by the forced eviction, involuntary resettlement and land acquisition of communities, including Indigenous peoples from their lands, and adhere to recommendations issued by the OHCHR’s Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council [2].
 
“We urge the AIIB to immediately suspend its financing of the Mandalika project, which commenced without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), which as the UN communication states, runs counter to the requirement under international human rights law that the prior and informed consent should be sought under conditions free of coercion, intimidation or manipulation’”, said Mohammad al Amien, coordinator of the NGO coalition.
 
“Indigenous peoples have already been forced from their lands and the largely agrarian community are faced with the continued loss of their livelihoods”, he continued. “AIIB must also immediately require its clients, the ITDC and the government of Indonesia to disband the land acquisition task force composed largely of the military and police forces in Mandalika which employs tactics of intimidation and movement restriction on the affected people”.
 
The Coalition for Monitoring Indonesia’s Infrastructure Development (Koalisi Pemantau Pembangunan Infrastruktur Indonesia) consists of Indonesian and international environmental and human rights organizations that monitor policies and projects of multilateral development banks in Indonesia.
 
Following a 60-day confidential period, the special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council and the Mandates for Special Rapporteur for extreme poverty made public of its March 8 communications on May 11, 2022, calling on the AIIB, ITDC and the government of Indonesia to account for alleged human rights violations and abuses committed in the implementation of the Mandalika project, to appoint an independent mediator and for the Government of Indonesia to allow a site visit by the UN special rapporteur into the project area, in order to meet with all relevant stakeholders [3].
 
The Mandalika Urban Development and Tourism Project, on the Indonesian island of Lombok, is a mega infrastructure tourism development largely funded by the AIIB, which provides for 78.5 per cent of the total project funding through loan of $248.4 million [4]. The AIIB financed Mandalika Urban Development and Tourism project is the bank’s first standalone project in Indonesia. Approved in late 2018, amidst land conflicts as a result of the involuntary land acquisition and resettlement in preparation for the project, the AIIB failed to exercise due diligence and to ensure that the risks of involuntary resettlement and forced evictions of the Indigenous peoples in the affected areas are avoided, minimized or mitigated, prior to the loan approval in December 2018 [5].
 
The recent communication issued by the UN Human Rights Special Procedures addressing the Mandalika project and the human rights violations is not the first time the AIIB has been found failing adhere to human rights standards. In March 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur with responsibility for scrutinizing extreme poverty and human rights, human rights defenders, Indigenous peoples’ rights, housing, international solidarity and international order, as well as the working group on business and human rights, exposed how affected community members were subject to threats and intimidation if they refuse to give up their land or accept unilaterally determined compensation in the involuntary land acquisition and resettlement. Reports also pointed to the excessive deployment of government-led security forces in the project preparation and implementation [6].

According to May 2022 accounts by human rights defenders and members of the project affected community monitoring the development in Mandalika, there is still a high degree of homelessness as a result of involuntary resettlement, while more than 100 families are still forced to live alongside a construction site in proximity of the MotoGP race track, where the public and community have to overcome checkpoints in order to enter the fenced off residential area – a designed project location – guarded by military and police.

“From the public discussion we conducted with local affected communities in March 2022, it is clear, as stated by the UN Special Rapporteur, that AIIB and its clients in Indonesia have not accounted for how involuntary and forced evictions have been carried out , which according to our analyses and monitoring, point to how the ITDC and project proponents default to the low standards of Indonesian Law No. 2/2012 on land acquisition, which does not provide same rights and protection as AIIB’s environmental and social safeguard requirements or the international human rights law”, said Harry Sandy Ame, researcher of the coalition and of Indonesia’s largest environmental organization WALHI in West Nusa Tanggara, where the Mandalika project is located. “The claims by ITDC and the AIIB that they are not directly responsible for human rights violations and land conflicts caused by the Mandalika Urban Development and Tourism Project [7,8] is simply not true, as affected peoples have witnessed and experienced violent intimidation since the beginning of the project.”

“AIIB shareholding governments have a duty of oversight exercised by their representatives at the Board of Directors, and these governments are also equally accountable for meeting their Human Rights obligations”, said Pieter Jansen from Both ENDS, a Dutch organization that works on monitoring multilateral development banks, including the AIIB. “AIIB shareholders must act to ensure its client the ITDC and the Indonesian government act promptly and address the human rights violations in the Mandalika case in a way that sufficiently mitigates and remedies the harms caused and in which they are complicit”.
 
“By providing core finance for the project, AIIB must take responsibility for its complicity in bankrolling the Mandalika project, where its client and project proponents have been implicated in inflicting human rights violations and fueling land conflicts”, said Wawa Wang of Just Finance International. “While members of the public and civil society have repeatedly asked AIIB to conduct and disclose monitoring and audits against the bank’s own environmental and social policies, AIIB has shunned transparency and accountability by dismissing requests. To put itself on the right side of history, AIIB must commit to an independent evaluation by human rights experts chosen in consultation with and agreed by NGOs and project-affected peoples.”
 
“On behalf of project-affected Indigenous peoples, fishermen, women and children in the Mandalika tourism project area, we are demanding that AIIB must immediately stop lending to the Indonesian government and ITDC and account for the human rights impacts”, concluded Amien, “We reiterate the same demands as we have made since 2019 – that the bank discloses the land audit which was the foundation for AIIB’s greenlighting of the project, the assessment of its client, ITDC’s, implementation of AIIB environmental and social safeguards, as well as the monitoring results and management plans on the use of security personnel, as per AIIB ESF requirements. We also request that  AIIB President Jin Liqun, who gave us his personal commitment at AIIB annual meetings since 2019 and again in 2021, to ensure that AIIB would remedy the social impacts by immediately implementing the UN’s recommendations, in order to stop the crippling impoverishment of project-affected communities as a result of the Mandalika project”.

ENDS
 
Press Contacts:
Just Finance International
Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, +34 691 826 764 press@justfinanceinternational.org
 
The Indonesia Infrastructure Development Monitoring Coalition:
National WALHI
WALHI South Sulawesi
WALHI West Java
WALHI NTB
ELSAM
INDIES
Green Youth Movement
Lembaga Studi Bantuan Hukum (Institute of Study and Legal Aid)
JATAM Kalimantan Timur
Trend Asia
Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation )
Kanopi Hijau Indonesia
Amnesty International
Just Finance International
Both ENDS
FIAN International
FIAN Indonesia
 
Contact: Koalisippiindonesia@gmail.com

Response of the Coalition for Monitoring Indonesia’s Infrastructure Development to OHCHR’s letter to AIIB, ITDC and the Government of Indonesia

As a coalition of NGOs that have monitored and defended the rights of Indigenous peoples as a result of being affected by the Mandalika tourism project since 2018, we responded to the OHCHR letter as follows:

First, the Coalition for monitoring Indonesia’s Infrastructure Development, fully supports all UN statements and recommendations to AIIB, ITDC and the Indonesian government as lenders and owners of the Mandalika tourism project. Specifically related to the resolution of land conflicts and the restoration of the rights of Indigenous peoples affected by the Mandalika tourism project. Also stopping the involvement of the military and police in efforts to resolve land conflicts between ITDC and the community. The military and police are not allowed to be involved in infrastructure development projects let alone be part of conflict resolution efforts. The military can only be involved when the country is in a state of emergency.

Second, as representatives of affected communities, we feel the need to ask the UN to participate in monitoring seriously and continuously regarding land conflicts in the AIIB project area. Because AIIB is the direct funder for this project. We also support the UN to urge the AIIB to stop lending to the Government of Indonesia and ITDC so that conflict resolution can be carried out immediately and the basic rights of the community can be upheld. Third, UN explanations and requests to ITDC, AIIB and the Government of Indonesia are clear evidence that debt projects in Indonesia have the potential to eliminate the rights of the community, especially poor women. Evidence that ITDC and the Indonesian government as AIIB partners do not comply with the principles of human rights in development and do not comply with MDBs policies on environmental and social protection. Likewise, AIIB is not serious about implementing environmental and social protection regulations in Indonesia, so that public funds managed at AIIB have the potential to be used to displace Indigenous peoples, impoverish women, and eliminate the future of children in Indonesia.

To the UN to follow up on letters that have been sent to AIIB, ITDC and the Government of Indonesia. We ask the UN to oversee this issue, so that the community, especially the affected women and children, get justice.
 
Notes:
 
[1] Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Ref.: AL OTH 17/2022 (Please use this reference in your reply) 8 March 2022, released 11 May 2022
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=27134
 
[2] OHCHR’s Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, March 2021
https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2021/03/indonesia-un-experts-flag-rights-concerns-over-3bln-tourism-project
 
Letters:
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=26108
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=26078
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=26109
 
[3] “I have also indicated to the Indonesian Government that I would welcome an invitation for me to carry out an informal visit to the Mandalika project. Such a visit would provide me with invaluable opportunities to directly hear from all relevant stakeholders, come to an assessment of the situation, and offer concrete recommendations” – Olivier De Schutter Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=27134
 
[4] Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Project Document of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – The Republic of Indonesia: Mandalika Urban and Tourism Infrastructure Project, December 7, 2018, footnote 8, https://www.aiib.org/en/projects/approved/2018/_download/indonesiamandalika/mandalika-project.pdf
 
[5] OHCHR communication to AIIB, March 2021: “In October 2018, the West Nusa Tenggara provincial government issued a public notice, calling on the ITDC to resolve land conflicts and restore the residents’ livelihood. In light of this history of land grabbing and forced evictions, as well as widely reported information on protests against land grabbing and forced evictions leading up to the AIIB’s loan approval in December 2018, the risks of involuntary resettlement and forced evictions should have been better identified, scrutinized and mitigated, prior to the loan approval.”
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=26078
 
[6] March 4, 2021 (REFERENCE: AL OTH 24/2021) by Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises; the Special Rapporteur on the right to development; the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples; the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order and the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity.
https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=26078
 
[7] AIIB’s statement in response to allegations of human rights violations in Mandalika tourism project, April 26, 2021
https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/indonesia-aiibs-statement-in-response-to-allegations-of-human-rights-violations-in-the-mandalika-tourism-project/
 
[8] ITDC’s response to the human rights violations in Mandalia tourism project, April 6&7, 2021
https://www.cnnindonesia.com/olahraga/20210407205156-156-627220/itdc-respons-isu-pelanggaran-ham-di-proyek-mandalika/amp https://amp.kompas.com/regional/read/2021/04/06/212808978/itdc-bantah-pernyataan-pbb-soal-adanya-pelanggaran-ham-dalam-proyek-kek
 
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